Maritime Policy Essay
Maritime policies are set and managed so as to ensure the safety of ships while on the open seas. Furthermore maritime policies also have control over ports and the policies for docking, shipments, monies, what can be imported or not. Liabilities and values are managed and in some respects so are ethics. The policies are to designate water rights and boundaries. Shipping has inherent risks associated with the trade that needs to have emergency plans in place should something go wrong.
There are environmental factors to take into consideration. 1 Add to this list, insurances, warranties and the laws that bind and by far, but not even the least, hazmat with the MSDS sheets of chemicals being transported, inspections, proper loads and bills of lading. Piracy isn’t much of an issue in today’s modern times but yet there are policies on piracy though much of this is outdated back to 1800-1900. Let us start with the safety aspect of shipping. Safety always starts and ends with the human element.
Without human intervention there is no guarantee of proper safety procedures being followed. Granted there are no guarantees anyway but a plan to follow is by far better than not having one. Maritime safety policies offer a protection not only to humans but to the environment and each territory or country has its own maritime safety policies and their own policies in general. In following safety as put in the policies this can also promote economic development and activity.
2 If safety procedures set forth in each policy are adhered to then the smooth sailing into and out of ports and countries, taking into account the shipment, humans and wildlife and water handling as well as obeying water boundaries and the knowledge of these policies per each are of sailing then one can be fairly presumptuous in a smooth transaction. Smooth transactions will enable a stable and economical trade for a long time. Funny how safety and policies are a direct relation to simply sailing right? On top of written policies as mentioned, maintenance is also a huge safety concern.
Without proper and timely maintenance of sea faring vessels, catastrophes can happen, shipments can be late which can in turn affect contracts of imports or exports which of course goes straight into the economics of shipping. As mentioned, the MSDS of chemicals is hugely, astronomically important in safety! The MSDS sheets give an abundant amount of information relating to any and all chemicals with regards to properties, explosiveness, stability, storage, shipping, proper handling, exposures to human and animals, what to do in case of accidents, medical issues and who to call for questions and answers.
MSDS furthermore gives information as to protective wear and the immediate emergency criteria. While the MSDS (material safety data sheet) is one of the most important aspects in the USA for chemicals, even if they don’t seem dangerous, transport and safety factors, other countries will also have their own individual regulations for shipments containing dangerous chemicals. These regulations must be followed as well. This is to ensure safety precautions from both levels. Simply not following, even the MSDS instructions can cause severe issues.
Explosions can happen, people and animals may become ill or death may occur. Long term lasting effects may happen to both humans and wildlife. If the safety practice is not followed with regards to whatever is being transported, whomever did not follow the instructions will be held liable and an end result can mean cancelled contracts, economic loss and soured politics with one person or country or even company. You must see the broad picture and how all of this relates to successful shipping, economics, policies and in general to the world.
The economics of shipping is like a well oiled machine when operated correctly and with the use of good teamwork throughout all ports, countries and waterways and once again the following of policies at each port, within each territory. Economic welfare consists of the sum of consumers’ surpluses and producers’ surpluses plus or minus any relevant externalities. 3 The economy also requires a strong organizational skill of the shippers, producers and purchasers, not necessarily meaning consumers.
The transportation of goods being shipped must be organized in respects to sea, air and freight transport, the production of making and delivering the goods, the ability to produce contracts in a timely manner, even the ability to put together a contract and keep it. Economics also requires the knowledge of knowing port fees and taxes in the other ports being frequented. Market trends will also play a large part in a successful economic empire. If you do not know the ever changing markets and the different economies at each port then the dismals failings are easily found in the shipping industry.
This will slide right into the sociological factors of shipping. So how does this part of the shipping management work? How does it prosper? The entire shipping industry, to run in a smooth way uses all of the above but then there is an ultimate management of it all. The human resources management, the industry management, the social management, it all plays a huge part. The items in which are shipped, the taxes and prices of the different items all vary. The weight allowed for each ship, rail car or air transport matter in all ways. Social change denotes this.
Social change can also be a dangerous happening to an industry if not prepared. When social change happens, this is similar to the industry changing and the industry and companies must be ready to absorb losses and be prepared to switch gears at a moments notice in their decisions of what to ship to who and when. Contracts may have to be renegotiated and in some cases when they can’t be then there is once again the absorption of the possibility of losing monies, contracts, and in worse case scenarios, allies from other countries. Maybe contracts won’t renew or no new contracts accepted.
4 The sociological side of a shipping industry and all involved are yet again directly correlated with the ecological aspects. There is an ecological factor to also take into consideration, both of the environment side and the human side. The environment side is in relation to protecting the seas, plant and animals within and against leakages that poor maintenance and unnecessary pollutions can cause. If maintenance is not done in the fashions that need to be, ships can fail at sea, shipments can be late. This is a small factor in the ecological side.
The bigger problems are with lack of maintenance causing a fuel spill or oil spill then the natural inhabitants of the sea are affected, plant life is affected thus in the end so is the human life. Humans, whether spending the time to cleanup up or from suffering from the damages in a physical way, it is all apart of the ecology. On the human side, and back to the sociological side, which is a direct line to discrimination in today’s world, is the interdependence of the people. This means the people who work together in close quarters and those who work on the ports in far away countries or locally.
Interdependence is a vital role in today’s world. If one person discriminates against another, that person loses an interdependence thus making for an unhappy person and in the end this can result in suits being filed. The interdependence of companies relies on maintaining a good policy and ethics as well. On the psychological level of this, companies who cannot maintain all the aspects of maritime policies lose their internal interdependence thus causing the loss of business and potentially causing conflicts that no one ever needs.
Conflicts, no matter how small, have too many variables that affect to many avenues. The normal human resources departments of any business must have a good grip on the social aspects of management as well. This doesn’t just include the inter office workings but also all the working at sea, in the air or ground transportation involved. With regards to all the different ports and lanes that a shipping company must deal with there is always the word monopoly that comes to mind. Just like any other person who owns businesses, they are not allowed to corner the market and create this monopoly.
Large shipping empires that have attained a level of success would love to monopolize. In a monopoly they would have the most control thus thinking that they have the most power which is an obvious factor to the God complex and this mentality can backslide back hundreds of years to a piracy level. Piracy in any form is not healthy for any economy worldwide. Another issue, especially since the 911 attack, is the threat of terrorist activity. These two play a part in negotiating contracts and between the US and other countries contracts can be quite difficult in forming before they are signed.
Hand in hand with this can also be the social aspect. Considering the many parts to a shipping contract, not all parties are going to agree, not all parties are going to easily find the synergy needed to help one another and if a contract is negotiated wrongly, this can, in an astute way cause a port war which can engage much more than the initial port issue thus quickly embroiling itself into wars of territorial or world wars. The security involved policies is to prevent against this form of uprising and thus security issues are addressed in contracts as well.
Our history shows that it doesn’t take much to cause a full fledged war as it is, so a good democratic person, or many, with a political mind and good business sense partnered with common sense may be a good one to deal with the different contracts and ports. The biggest issue seems to be the limits of liability. How much liability is each player going to accept if a shipment goes wrong? The factoring of circumstances that control this will help make this decision but in the end no one ever wants to be liable.
We must work with and against liability issues such as warranties, lost or late shipments, unexpected happenings, transportation failures and the like. Someone has to be liable at all times and this liability shifts constantly from one person or company, to another. In the end someone has to pay for the negative liability caused. Another, much harder issue to deal with is the contract of intermodal transport. The ships provide transport but contracts also have to be written for the air and land travel as well. Who is responsible and the timeliness factor and costs at each port.
Who becomes responsible when arriving at a port and suddenly the shipment isn’t available per unexpected intervention? This becomes a frustrated contract and thus many people lose in this instance. Intermodal transport requires high organization from many variables. Time, type of shipment, weight of shipment, cost of the transport, who can better do the transport with quality and quantity are all important roles. When transportation details are being negotiated, no matter if land, sea, air or a culmination of them all, it is imperative that all operates as expected.
When something fails, it affects facets of the industry itself as well as families and all inbetween. With any maritime traveler there is a large and sometimes very emotional, ongoing issue in direct relation the sociological factoring and that’s the families of these travelers. There is a lot of time spent at sea, more so than at home by a wide margin. Even though wives, and sometimes husbands may marry a sea traveler, accepting that lifestyle can be a time of intense and long term distraught. Families have been interrupted and torn apart, simply because the other partner is not there as often as the other one wants them to be.
While one partner is striving to provide the economical balance for the family, both parties must also have their own brand of political reasoning in order to maintain that family status. Now it seems crazy that a seafaring family would have politics within their home but it is definitely inevitable to a much higher degree than normal family politics as much more is at stake and much bigger changes happen. The one contract at this point that is generally easier to dissolve is the marriage contract and this happens frequently.
“In this New World [of globalization] there is no room for national industrial policies and shipping is no exception. National shipping policy is dead – or it should be. ” (Sletmo, 2001, p 334). While Sletmo may state that specific policies do not broaden the economics of the shipping industry but yet the government keeps making policies does not mean that the whole shipping industry policy is dead or needs to be dead. There are many policies that we may be unaware of that indeed do not strengthen the economics of this industry. The policies were put there for a reason and even if it is the policy on piracy it remains.
This is a check and balance system that will always be ever changing. Can you imagine what would happen if all references to piracy were exonerated in maritime policies? Bounce right back to history of The Boston Tea Party or of the days of pirates stealing ships and cargo and the deaths involved, the families destroyed. It is a requirement to have the government involved to a degree. To have policies in place is needed. This is the only way, even in a globalized world, to survive whether it be industrial of nature or not. National shipping policy is not dead; just not agreed upon as much.
From the Federal standpoint of maritime laws, shipping policies will remain in place as it desperately needs the protection that it affords. This protection encompasses regulation safety issues, contracts, ecological and sociological issues, water borders, individual countries port rules and much more. Policies affect the world wide shippers to some degree, even if only contemplating the policies in the USA. With larger shippers from Germany, Japan, Netherlands, China and Hong Kong present, it is imperative to have policies in place, especially when considering the past issues of wars between the USA and some of these countries.
There is no room for error, no margin for a lack of agreed upon policies to maintain a profitable shipping policy. These countries must get along; one slip can create chaos and the loss of the economy even more so than ever, the loss of allies, and an uprising. This can even inadvertently and directly affect our stock markets and jobs world wide. If one thinks about the logical, in-depth reasons for policies, one will also recognize that many of the USA products, to include our actual ships, come from other countries.
Without a policy in place for protection then shipping ports begin to lose. Without a policy, taxes may not be agreed upon, shipments may not be considered as satisfactory, maybe someone would decide to usurp someone else’s authority thus the possibility and likelihood of angering a different country or a specific port. It is somewhat recognizable that there will be a never ending aspect to problems that can happen and their effects which only go to prove that yes, policies, in all arenas of shipping need to be made under all circumstances.
There is an abundant amount of pressure in shipping. One specific example is where we obtain our ships. Most of the ships the USA or other countries uses or owns are built in Germany. With Germany building the ships we buy or lease there is the maintenance and warranty to consider. Without proper maintenance a warranty is void, with a voided warranty, as with anything, tempers flare as each party believes another to be responsible. When proper maintenance of a ship is adhered to per policy then generally it leaves little to no room for argument when it comes time to file against a warranty.
Warranties in everyday life, for little items are sometimes hard enough to get honored as it is; imagine enforcing a warranty for a multi million dollar freight ship. It becomes obvious how important it is to follow the shipping policy of just maintenance alone. Once again, think of the broader picture of maintenance and how it is related to safety as already discussed. Another example of shipping is actual the lower cost of labor for production in countries such as Japan and China.
What if one day the shipping industry was paying 10 cents on the dollar for the labor to produce the items for shipment and then the next day that labor cost shot up to 50 cents on the dollar because of a suddenly strained atmosphere between countries? This rise would affect everything involved with contracts, timeliness, allies, shipments, sociological factors and who knows what else may happen that we don’t see. In summary, yes there are many policies for both the USA shippers for sea, land and air shipping but there are also policies for ports and countries abroad.
There are many contracts to consider, many safety precautions to follow. There is a lot of political and economical pressure from all parties involved in the shipping industry and without policies in place there is no way that the shipping industry would survive. This lack of survival would affect all of us, world wide. Companies, persons, ports and countries would do as they saw fit, each persons view would be different and there would be nothing in place to prevent severe consequences from happening. While nothing is ever perfect in our imperfect world, the world of maritime policies must be complete in every aspect and almost perfect.
Policies are ever changing as needs arise and in the end, if terms cannot be agreed upon to form a new policy then this can go anywhere from losing a contract before it is signed, to losing part of an economy to a full out war. Globalization demands policies at all levels. The statement of there being no room for industrial shipping policies is a huge fallacy. Make room for the policies needed for the safety, economical, political reason on all levels throughout the world, that, or have a mess on hand that will be a hard cleanup.
List of References
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University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 24 November 2016
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